Sweetheart spas: Work out the kinks in your relationship

Fancy the notion of being pampered, polished and indulged with your sweetheart at your side this Valentine's Day? Then consider a spa escapade for two.

"In the past, romance was about tales of travel and adventure — the kinds of experiences that help regenerate mind and body," says Dr. Matthew Edlund, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine and author of "The Power of Rest." "Modern ideas of romance focus more on sharing deep experiences with someone you love."

According to discount travel site Hotwire.com, a recent online survey of nearly 2,200 adults showed that nearly 70 percent strongly agreed that their romantic relationships would benefit if they embarked on more leisure trips with their significant others.

"Why not combine the old and the new and take a travel adventure together?" says Edlund. "Think of what that can do for your health — and your relationship."

With that in mind, we've scouted several luxury spa destinations at hotels and resorts within a few hours of Baltimore. From chocolate facials and strawberry scrubs, to a deluxe champagne body massage, a bevy of amorous options await you and that special person, your valentine.

Berry Hill Resort, South Boston, Va.

At the 650-acre historic estate in southern Virginia known as Berry Hill, the elegantly appointed spa will certainly beckon. But couples may have trouble finding a reason to leave the room.

Italian handcrafted beds — canopy or sleigh — are perfect for snuggling in the 88 rooms and suites accented by art, antiques and reproductions.

Most rooms open to a spacious veranda complete with views of ponds, rolling hills and trees. The countryside perch is ideal for savoring a romantic sunrise or sunset.

"Berry Hill offers a unique opportunity to really escape and relax," says general manager Martha Borg. "Our spa really gets into Valentine's Day with chocolate massages, rose petals in the pedicures and chocolate-scented candles."

The resort's Blackberry Spa will offer special treatments like a chocolate hot oil massage, strawberries and champagne scrub, and strawberries and champagne massage.

When you're done, diversions on the grounds include three restaurants, plus biking, hiking, tennis, fishing in a stocked pond, billiards, croquet, bocce and swimming.

"The outdoor trails are in good shape since the winter has been so mild, and the pool is nice and warm," says Borg.

The Blackberry Romance Package starts at $299 per couple per night, and includes a pair of 30-minute Swedish massages or a refresher facial. Call 434-517-7000 or go to berryhillonline.com.

Caesars Atlantic City, Atlantic City, N.J.

For the couple willing to "gamble" on romance, Caesars Atlantic City offers nearly 1,200 newly renovated rooms, 10 restaurants and lounges, plus casino tables and a slew of other amenities.

But its piece de resistance is the Qua Baths and Spa, a palace of sensory delights that boasts 14 treatment rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, a tearoom with an "tea sommelier," a new state-of-the-art fitness center, herbal steam rooms, a dry sauna and plunge pools.

Couples can indulge in various treatments, including the Roman Rituals — three pools varying in temperature and size, and the signature "Dieci Mani Ten Hands," so named because of the healing touch of four massage artists and one aesthetician. It includes a full body exfoliation under cascading Vichy showers, an eight-hand classic light touch and hot stone body massage, followed by chakra balancing and foot reflexology. As guests move between rooms, rose petals are underfoot.

For Valentine's Day, spa offerings for couples include the "Chocolate Temptation" package, which begins with a full body exfoliation of sea salts infused with mint. The two of you will then be enveloped in a chocolate wrap, covered in warm linens and given a warm coconut oil scalp massage. The process concludes with an application of chocolate scented lotion, and then, lunch.

The Chocolate Temptation spa treatment is $581. A variety of other spa packages are also available. Call 609-343-2400 or go to caesarsac.com.

Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford, Pa.

Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains, the Omni Bedford Springs Resort provides breathtaking views, seclusion and privacy for couples seeking a romantic retreat.

Set among eight natural springs, couples can rejuvenate themselves at the Bedford Baths in the Spring Eternal Spa, or enjoy a gourmet dinner at the Crystal Dining room. At night, relax under a blanket near an outdoor fire pit and stargaze, or enjoy s'mores.

The historic 200-year-old property has been restored to the grandeur of the late 19th and early 20th century. Its offerings include nearly 2,200 rooms and suites, and five restaurants.

"We have a special charm that attracts romantic couples young and old," said Lee Bowden, general manager. "The relaxed atmosphere allows guests to reconnect, whether they enjoy a stroll among our mountain trails or a soak in the rejuvenating Bedford Baths."

In honor of Valentine's Day, the "Ooh La La Romance" package can be arranged by the resort's Cupid concierge. It features deluxe accommodations, sparkling wine, petit fours and French macarons, turndown service including robes, music and lighting, daily breakfast for two in the restaurant or in the room, and that Cupid concierge to assist with special romantic requests.

Packages start at $291 per night based on double occupancy. Call 814-623-8100 or go to omnihotels.com

The Jefferson, Washington

Couples seeking a cosmopolitan Valentine's Day and spa experience may relish The Jefferson, a restored 1920s Beaux-Arts hotel just a few blocks from the White House.

Rich in historical details, the Relais and Châteaux property has 99 rooms/suites, two restaurants, a well-stocked wine room, a book room with a fireplace and a collection of historical volumes, and a full-service spa.

As couples enter The Jefferson, the decor and ambience create an air of romance. A skylight is the centerpiece of the hotel lobby, along with sleek marble floors. An array of aesthetic touches include hand-painted silk wall-coverings, glittering chandeliers, massive urns holding floral displays, and grand oil paintings and antiques.

Rooms have beds that feature leather-upholstered headboards and footboards, and the spacious bathrooms even have a television embedded within the mirror.

And just in case you and your beloved have business to tend to, two meeting rooms feature high-tech glass doors that cloud with invisible gas at the touch of a button for instantaneous privacy.

"Our intimate atmosphere and highly personalized service will make the day memorable and special," says Nora Sommerkamp, guest relations manager. "And our Valentine's spa experience will be a journey for the senses."

The Jefferson's spa uses herbs and botanicals grown at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home, as well as vinotherapies that reflect his love of fine wines. There's also a fitness room, a vintage barber's chair for men and a hairstylist for women.

The Jefferson's Valentine's Day package includes overnight accommodations in a deluxe room, breakfast in bed or at the Greenhouse, one of the hotels' restaurants, and two 60-minute spa treatments, in which couples can choose between a massage or facial.

A beverage will follow, to whet your appetite for what's to come: a culinary creation prepared by the Jefferson's chef, just for two.

The Valentine's Day package is $690 plus tax and gratuities. The nights of Feb.13 or Feb. 15 may be added (prior reservations required) at the rate of $440 each, including breakfast for two. Call 202-448-2300 or go to jeffersondc.com

Hershey spa's chocolate delight

The Spa at the Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania has introduced a new edible chocolate facial just in time for Valentine's Day.

The 75-minute Cocoa Facial Experience begins with a warm foot bath, followed by hair-brushing, and a citrus cleansing and exfoliation ritual to prime the skin for an edible dark chocolate mask.

The mask is first applied to the lips (to sample) before being applied to the rest of the face. It's removed with a soft spatula and a warm towel, leaving behind the aroma of freshly baked brownies. The facial ends with a protective tinted moisturizer.

The spa treatment is $165 Mondays through Thursdays and $170 Fridays through Sundays. Call 877-772-9988 or go to chocolatespa.com.

—Donna M. Owens